A powerful typhoon has forced offices and schools to close and canceled hundreds of flights on Hong Kong, where residents were hunkering down as the storm passes by.

Severe Typhoon Hato was about 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of Hong Kong on Wednesday morning and moving toward mainland China's Pearl River Delta.

Weather authorities raised the No. 10 hurricane signal, the highest level, and said Hato had sustained winds of 165 kilometers an hour (103mph) with gusts to 192 kmh.

The warning forced businesses, government offices, schools and courts to shut and the stock market to suspend trading, leaving the Asian financial center's normally bustling streets eerily quiet. Airlines canceled 420 flights.

A direct hit on Hong Kong was not expected but outlying islands were experiencing winds of 141 kmh.